With the Apple Cup coming up next Friday, the Downtown Yakima Rotary is hoping to cash in on the competitive spirit between fans of the University of Washington and Washington State University with a new kind of fundraiser.
Rotary organizers announced the fundraiser Thursday morning at a news conference with the official mascots of the UW and WSU, Harry the Husky and Butch the Cougar, who drove into Yakima just for the occasion.
The “U Rule Yakima” campaign is an online-only fundraiser that asks donors to give $20 to vote for one of the two schools on a website specially designed for the event.
“We’re just really giddy about this. It’s gonna be a lot of fun,” said Dave Hargreaves, president of Downtown Rotary. “The really cool thing about this is it really doesn’t matter how your team plays football.”
Whichever team gets the most votes will rule the town for a week: The city of Yakima has agreed to paint the winning team’s colors down Yakima Avenue from First Street to the Convention Center on North Eighth Street, and will fly team banners along Yakima Avenue as well as from City Hall, the Convention Center, the Larson Building and the Yakima Air Terminal.
The City Council will also make an official proclamation declaring Yakima either “Huskyville” or “Cougarville” for the week of Dec. 3-7.
“We’re proud to support this fundraiser; we love Yakima Rotary,” said Mayor Micah Cawley. He said he imagines this is the first time the city will drape sports banners all along Yakima Avenue. “It’s a lot at stake here.”
The contest runs from today to Nov. 26 at www.uruleyakima.com. The winner will be announced at the Rotary auction on Dec. 1, and on Dec. 3, Yakima residents will see evidence of that announcement in the colors around town: crimson and gray or purple and gold.
Organizer Dana Dwinell said she hopes the website goes viral.
“You can send this out to Tokyo; send this out to anywhere you want to,” she said. “Anyone who wants to can vote, donate their $20, and all of us will benefit.”
Hargreaves said embracing social media is both fun and useful, especially in an era with increasing competition for fundraising dollars.
The proceeds go to Rotary’s charitable fund, which in recent years has helped support myriad local organizations and programs including Habitat for Humanity, the YWCA emergency shelter and scholarships for local students.
• Molly Rosbach can be reached at 509-577-7728 or firstname.lastname@example.org.